Ohio State football: 5 reasons the Buckeyes will demolish FAU

Ohio State football. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Ohio State football. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Ohio State recruiting
Ohio State recruiting (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

5. Justin Fields will impress in his debut

Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State during the off season. Fields is a former no. 1 overall prospect out of high school. He played one year at Georgia before deciding that sharing time at quarterback was not in his cards. His transfer to Ohio State was a surprise as former backup quarterback Tate Martell was waiting in the wings for the departure of Dwayne Haskins.

Martell was meant to be the heir to the throne as Haskins departed for the NFL draft. The move to go out and secure Justin Fields as the heir to Dwayne Haskins shows the seriousness that Ryan Day and this staff are coming with. Urban Meyer had been known to be very loyal to his quarterbacks, especially in the last few seasons, so Day’s mentality is a bit different. It’s not that Ryan Day is not loyal, it’s that he wants the right guy for his vision on offense and apparently Martell was not a part of that.

Meyer was often criticized for his determination to stand put with his quarterback regardless of what the results were. This was very evident in the case of long-time Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett. An example of this was during Barrett’s final season in 2017 when he was named the starter in the Big Ten Championship game. In the prior game, Dwayne Haskins had played a good game in the Buckeyes’ win over that team up north to end the season. Haskins had to fill in for Barrett in that game, which was away in Ann Arbor, because of an injury Barrett sustained in pregame.

Haskins didn’t light it up by any means in that game but he did enough to get the job done. With that win, the Buckeyes still had some hope of making the College Football Playoff. It was clear that Haskins had the better upside to carry the Buckeyes to a convincing win over the Wisconsin Badgers in the proceeding Big Ten Championship game but Meyer opted with playing the mostly injured Barrett instead.

The situation to start this season somewhat emulates that as Ryan Day chose the quarterback with the better upside in Justin Fields over Tate Martell. Martell is still a talented quarterback who can do many things (and maybe all things) that a dual threat Buckeyes quarterback like J.T. Barrett could do but Day believed that Fields could do it better. Day was also heavily involved with the offense during all of last season and has seen Martell enough to realize that he is limited in some ways. Day is looking to test the field vertically as opposed to horizontally.

With Fields, the Buckeyes can look to become much more explosive on offense. We saw some of that last season with Haskins being able to take the roof off a defense with his big arm. Much of the same can be expected from Fields but even more so as the play calling will likely be more catered to airing it out as opposed to being conservative. When Meyer was in control of the offense, it seemed much more conservative as the offense played the width of the field more often than the length.

Fields is still a dual threat quarterback which fits the traditional Buckeyes style but more passing should be expected than designed quarterback runs. The Buckeye running back room already has plenty of fine players who can get production there. FAU won’t serve as too much of a threat to the Buckeyes’ passing offense as they ranked just 79th in the nation in passing defense last season.

The Owls’ defense will likely have improved a bit as FAU head coach Lane Kiffin is now entering his third season with the team. Since Kiffin began coaching at FAU in 2017, the team has been in the top three in the conference in recruiting and is now first in that category.